Sell, Don't Spam: Tips for Social Selling - Social Assurance
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Sell, Don’t Spam: Tips for Social Selling

March 27, 2019
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Step One: Work to Build Trust

You want to foster an online community where people connect with and recommend you.

You do this by diversifying your content — focus on thought leadership, relevant events (e.g., first time home buyers seminar), community/local content and product posts.

Make a connection. Demonstrate value. Be authentic.


Step Two: Initiate Advertising

Be relevant and clear in your posts — don’t trick people into clicking.

Are you new to social media? Start with a follower or like campaign so you can start growing your audience. You can specifically target the cities/towns you serve so your messages are being shown to the right leads.


Step Three: New Tactics for Growth

Go live on social media: Take your events and Q&As to the next level by using Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat.

Run a contest: You can focus on a product like a home renovation photo contest (good for generating leads for home equity loans) or go broad with your campaign by having your audience comment on a post to win a prize.


Selling on social media isn’t easy. The focus must be on connecting with and growing your community. Scale Your Community, Market with Confidence.


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Ben Pankonin 0:14
Well, welcome to a Wednesday webinar. Today we’re gonna talk about selling, not spamming tips for social selling, with social assurance I’ve been painting in if you recognize my voice, you’ve been here to a webinar before on on most of those but today we have Becky Voss with us. Welcome, Becky.

Becky Voss 0:35
Hey, man, thanks. Glad to be here.

Ben Pankonin 0:36
And I’m excited. You know, Becky and I, you’ll see a lot. You’ll see us a lot at conferences. We were at a few conferences last week. And you know, we’re kind of hitting that conference season. And so Becky and I traveled to a lot of those conferences so you’ll you’ll see her out there. But Becky really helps with a lot of our sales and accounts and things like that. So, Becky, I’m excited to have you on here as we talk about About spamming. I think

Becky Voss 1:01
this is such a great topic. There’s a lot going on today, in our industry, a lot of conversations around, how do we sell on social and this is just a really important conversation to have, because you like to get spammed. I do know, I really don’t, you know, when I see my social ads or when I’m on the web anywhere, if I see an ad that isn’t relevant to me, I honestly am thinking that marketer did not do their job to research who they were going to deliver this ad to. And you know, knowing what we know about social media, it’s just, it’s not impressive.

Ben Pankonin 1:34
Yeah. You know, what we find a lot of times is there’s an equivalent offline to what we see happening online. And I’ll try to point out some of those because I think they’re, it’s really absurd when we start to see it happen. I’ve been talking with a couple of you, kind of offline right over LinkedIn or text messages or things and we were talking about some of the ways that you get spammed from vendors and purchases Killer. You know, one of those is, you know, you sort of showing up to an event and they want you to, to do things like right now, like, Hey, can you give me I talked to to one banking marketer who said, Hey, I just was at a conference. And the vendor emailed me just before the conference to ask for my cell phone number before the conference so that he could text me like to, you know, to meet up for meetings during the conference. And she says, No, I’m really I’m not comfortable with that. Right? I don’t know you like this is this is weird, right? There’s a lot of different ways that spamming gets weird. And so we’re going to try to highlight some of those when they happen online. And so so I’m excited about this because I think it really helps us to frame up how social media and spamming works. But But first I want to talk about spamming because I think there’s really two different tactics when we think about what we’re doing, from a sales capacity on social media. One of them is spamming. So we’re gonna we’re going to start off there. We’re going to talk a little bit about spamming. And then we’re going to talk about community building and really what the difference between those two avenues are. But first, when we talk about spamming, I think a lot of times we think of spamming as something that’s completely ineffective. And I want to say today, yes, I’m saying this publicly. That’s not fair. There’s a reason why people spam and it is that it can work. I, you know, because I have kind of a tech background. And at times, I drink a lot of Mountain Dew and sort of get to be with my programming friends. I’ve been to some of these conferences where I’ve literally been approached by a spammer who will actually describe themselves as such, they sort of, you’ll meet them and say, Well, what do you do for a living? So how are you here at this conference? And they’ll say, Well, I’m actually a spammer and so, okay, so So I mean, mostly over email or whatever, they’ll say, Yep. By the way, if you have any extra IP addresses, I’d love to set up a mail server, if you haven’t sent spam from that IP address yet, like I really need that, right. So so like when you’re at one of those conferences, or you sort of meet the people who are really in the technical know how for it. Some of them are making a good living doing spam at a ridiculous level. But it’s a numbers game. whatever number you think, is the amount of messages you send to be effective spamming, you need to add a couple zeros to that in order to actually make a living doing it. I mean, it’s the numbers are astronomical, that it requires to make spamming actually pay off for you. Because you’re not going to get a high percentage of the the messages that you send out as spam messages to be effective. So So what really does make spamming work? Well, a lot of times we disguise it as social selling. We we sort of say hey, this is what we do. We you know, we do sort of social selling, but but it’s really not a social activity and social activity is something where I understand the other person I’m seeking to understand the other person, when we’re looking at spamming, it’s not taking those things into account. It involves a high volume of content. And we’re typically doing it on many channels at the same time. So we’re also seeing spamming done for things like soliciting false reviews, you know, increasing clicks or things like that, you know, you can pay for bots or things like that, that will increase clicks, likes engagement, on social media posts, all of those I would describe as spamming. And really the optimization that you’re making, if you are a spammer is for the total number of messages or posts to be effective.

Becky Voss 5:46
So Ben, what you’re talking about with, you know, higher number of clicks and those types of things. It seems that if we were taking our KPIs into account our key performance indicators for our marketing messages and how we’ve been measuring those two To date, wouldn’t spamming skew those numbers as far as the effectiveness It seems as though that click through rate might go up. But our sales and our effectiveness of the strategy might not reflect that?

Ben Pankonin 6:12
Well, yes. I mean, we’re gonna get to some of the challenges with spamming one of the biggest problems is, you know, when you click through, if you’ve ever clicked through a spam message that you didn’t realize was a spam message. You reach that moment where you say, Oh, well, that’s not what I came here for. Right? And I think that’s, that’s one of the key things that while we might get people to click on something, as sort of a trick, right, and so we’ve optimized for, for people to click through, but then they get through and they say, well, that’s actually not why I came here. So that’s one of the one of the huge dangers when we look at things like spamming, what are the other things we have to look at it and I think that ties into this point and this is actually something that is talked about a number of When we go to more of the security bank conferences, a lot of times this subject will come up and it’ll say, you know, one of the best spammers is the person who sends out the Nigerian prince emails, right? Because what they’re doing is they’re figuring out that the trick is important, right? So when they’re optimizing, they’re optimizing their email to find people who would be gullible enough to click on this email. Because you know, all of us have been to, you know, conferences, we’ve been to you through email training, we’ve been through, you know, our IT security training, we know that the Nigerian prince email is not going to work. I think it is. This is not a legitimate Nigerian prince that is asking for money, and there’s no return in it for me, like we know that. But the people who don’t know that are really what that emails for because they need them to walk through several steps in order to get money into a Nigerian bank account.

Becky Voss 7:58
And I would be willing to bet They’re folks listening to the call today who within their organization have had some sort of malicious spam email come through. And most of their team members would have followed eyeties instructions and not clicked on that link. But I bet there’s a few on the call, who probably had at least one of their team members, click on that link and caused some havoc in their network.

Ben Pankonin 8:21
Yeah, certainly, you know, I’ve been to some of those, you know, it trainings and yes, sometimes those spammers can be effective at moving those messages through. And it’s scary. But, you know, I think the big thing that we have to make sure we’re thinking about is oftentimes, when we talk about things like social selling, sometimes even people within our organization, they’re asking for, Hey, could we do social selling throughout our organization? And we have to realize that sometimes what they’re asking for, is they just want a button that they can press that sends out more sales messages out into or out into the sort of internet right on social media. And that’s, that’s a really dangerous strategy to go after. Because if we’re looking for just that easy button, if you’re doing spamming effectively, sort of those, when I’ve gone to the it conferences, where I have run into the people who are spammers, right, what they’re looking for is how can I deliver a million messages? So they’re looking for a lot of these buttons, because they’re going to try to auto post to every account, they’re going to try to put in auto responses, so that every reply, you know, we found those for those of you who are on Twitter pretty actively, all of a sudden, you’ll have somebody that follows you and you think maybe I’ll follow that account back and all of a sudden they send me a message right away. It’s that auto response message, right? It’s required because we need more messages to go through quicker, you know, auto follow techniques, right? So we’re gonna look at everybody who posts with the hashtag within our community. We’re just gonna automatically Follow them there are technologies and tools that you can buy and sign up for that will do some of those tactics and you know, some of them can be effective. But you know, at the end of the day, you know, buying followers and things like that create a really insists insincere platform for you. So when we look at the those tactics and look at, you know, what makes spamming work, I think what this is really trying to do here is help create a contrast for you, between what is building a spamming profile, and what is community building, which, which I hope is what we’re really focused on here as community financial institutions.

Becky Voss 10:43
So when you think about spamming and the results that we’re able to produce through this tactic, in your experience, what has been the overall quality of leads compared to a community building tactic for social selling?

Ben Pankonin 10:57
Yeah, you know, I think You know, one of the things that, you know, you look at with the leads that would come in in a spamming tactic is you’re going to get some, you’re usually not going to get a market leader, right? I’m usually not going to get people who are highly influential, right? Because a lot of times, you’re trying to get the person who buys a product, and then moves on to the next tactic, the people who are doing spamming effectively, they’re trying to get a quick hit of a product, and then move on to the next process. So this is why you know, when we look at some of the aggregators, even of lending products, they can come across very spammy, right? Because, you know, we’re sort of looking at, you know, how many financial institutions can I get a quote on for my mortgage in a short amount of time, and that can come across as spammy? So even if you happen to be one of those institutions that’s paying for leads through a platform, you know, like, you know, like Zillow or one of those that are or bank radar. Something like that even if you are, the way you respond has to be in a very deliberate way to show that you are building community that might be a source of leads for your financial institution. And I, you know, I can’t fault that. I think that’s okay. But we have to be very careful in the way that we addressed the responses to that to make sure that we are just turning into a spam machine in that in that capacity. So, so yeah, we really want to talk about is there’s really three steps here. We’re going to talk about working, how does trust factor into that initial phase? How do we how do we do advertising in a way that’s not spamming? And then, you know, how do we use new tactics as a way to cut through some of that noise as well?

Becky Voss 12:47
So a lot of the questions that came in, in advance of this webinar had to do with just what you’re talking about building trust, how to create touch points that seem more genuine and less salesy, and how to really come Across from a product without really feeling like you’re, you’re there to sell something. So

we’re that’s what people are wanting to hear.

Ben Pankonin 13:07
Yeah, awesome. Well, I think that is a lot of what we want to talk about is that it, you know, there are a lot of ways to, to help give people what they want, without having them feel like it is a spam sort of tactic. So, when we talk about what is community do to cut against this noise, you know, when we’re building community as a way to, to win in this social selling space. First, we’re talking about that, you know, we have there are a lot of, there’s a lot of volume of content, right? So So when we’re thinking about Twitter or platforms like that, where there’s a lot of messaging going on, there’s a stream of information going through, your friends help cut down on that noise. That is, you know, when we respond in a friendly way, and in a way that ended case that we know our market that shows that we’re in community with that market. You know, we also see that there’s, there’s our repeat of message over message. So when we’re cutting through that and saying, Hey, we’re not going to just share with you our rate every time, we’re going to share with you maybe where the location is that you could go transact for this loan, that becomes less of a factor of motivating a repeat of message and more of a message that says, hey, we know where you are.

Becky Voss 14:34
So you’re talking about repeating messages. And you know, I think a lot of people who are in the sales or marketing arena, have heard before that it takes seven or eight touch points for someone, before they become familiar enough with you to purchase something from you or for to begin a business relationship. How does that come into play with building community and social selling?

Ben Pankonin 14:55
Yeah, well, I’ll try to give you an example of like an in person interview Reaction right so, so like there are a lot of food brands that would market to me. I’m hungry. My work downtown I live kind of in the burbs. So like, there’s a lot of food brands that message between my home and my office and back. But a lot of times the ones that capture my attention are ones that are local. They identify with things that I might also identify with. They’re a local restaurant that realizes they can market in Lincoln, Nebraska about Lincoln, Nebraska, and that will cut through some noise for me. They also might be they also might have a relationship with me, you know, when the when the neighbor Girl Next Door rings my doorbell and says, Hey, I’m here to sell you girl scout cookies. Like I’m signing up for that. Like I’m really excited about that because one I really love Girl Scout cookies, but but to I mean, it’s exciting because, you know, I know them like I know their family. I know her why Grow Up next door. Like, that is something that I’m bought into in community. So when we, when we frame sales within community, it changes the context for those messages. So we now know the person on the other side. And that changes how we receive those. So that’s part of what we’re going to talk about a little bit in this first section two, I think is with, with loan officers, right? So, you know, when, you know, when my friend Adam, who helps me with my home mortgage reaches out or share something on Facebook, I look at it very differently than I would an advertisement because I know how to like I know a little bit about his family. I know, kind of some of his background, and I know how hard he worked to make sure we could get into our house. So I think all of those things, when they’re framed in community really change and it doesn’t. It’s not that he has to repeat the same message many times over. He just has to show me that he’s there and remind me that he’s a loan officer so that it’s not top of mind for me. Um, so when we talk a little bit about trust, you know, part of what we have to do is foster that online community. So, you know, what I have to repeat, or what Adam has to repeat to me isn’t necessarily just that he has great loan rates. And I don’t really care. I’ve just referred somebody to him a month ago, because, you know, I have no idea what his return rates are today. But I referred somebody because they said, Hey, I know that he’s going to take care of you. And I see that he’s active online, and he’s going to be out there and available to you. So what he has to repeat is just a message to let me know that he’s still around, he’s still doing what he’s doing. That’s really important for me, because I might not be thinking about Adam every day, even though I’m, you know, have my mortgage scheduled on a monthly basis.

Becky Voss 17:49
And that brings up another question that someone had submitted was how do we get our audience used to hearing about banking products and financial services? online and that just presence can go a long way.

Ben Pankonin 18:04
Yeah, sometimes it’s not about talking about the products, right. And in that case, he’s building the community around that. So then when there is a message that’s a little bit more sales focused, it has a place to land, right? There’s there’s pavement there that delivers that message in an easier way. When we just put the message out there and just keep repeating it, it has nowhere to go. So you’ll see a lot of these accounts online, particularly in financial services, that will have a whole bunch of links in them and no engagement. I mean, just no engagement. It might be a personal post, but they’ll just have no engagement. That’s really easy to do. We can, you know, we can automate that we can put a whole bunch of messages out there about bank products, and we can repeat that message many times, but it won’t get very much engagement. People won’t be liking it. They won’t share it with their friends. They won’t say hey, by the way, have you seen that Adam has this opportunity, they just won’t do that. But when it happens within community, people start to share it in a different way. So that they’ll start to view your content as more reliable, because they know who you were and who you are and who you’re going to be, is consistent. And I think that’s a really important thing to show. Specifically, when we’re talking about products. We want to show that, hey, the people that we interacted with, took value in our product. So again, if we go back to our spamming world, we’re not showing value when we’re just pushing out a product all the time. But when we show, hey, we helped a company to do this, or we helped an individual to get into their home, we start to tell a story of the reliability of the interaction with us. So one of the other things we start to talk about is we start to diversify that content. Right. So we talked a little bit about Adam and his connection with me on Facebook, but we also have things like a thought leadership, we can start to think Talk about why do I care about the community I’m in? Why do I care about the place where I work? I think this is why it’s really critical for us to talk about those people within our organization who might be also sharing social media content that might be product related or just, you know, relate to our, our financial brand, is that they need to be thought of as thought leaders in this space. And so, you know, we’re going to be talking about financial literacy next month and, and a bunch of those things, but I think it’s really important when people start to recognize that, that we do care about them more than just their deposit relationship. So you’re talking about things like relevant events, you know, when we’ve got, you know, first homebuyer seminars, we’ve got, you know, events going on at branches. Those are great opportunities for us to show that, hey, we’re out here, serving ice cream. We’re surfing, you know, hot dogs in the community. We’ve got things that we’re doing that show that we’re community focused and local. Those can be really effective tactics to remind people that we’re here that we do work at a financial institution. So when we’re thinking about the individuals that market, those become really effective there. What else becomes effective is when we’re talking about the advantage that we’re layering on a product. Let’s face it, a lot of times, what we sell in a financial institution may be very similar to what’s sold down the street. But the story and the way we tell it is fundamentally different. So the way we talk about our community, being engaged in that product is really important. And to be able to talk about how how the community benefits when we care about those individuals, the small businesses, their payrolls, all of those things, that becomes really important for for how people receive it and we talk about channels. You know, Think thinking about channels is really important that when we’re when we’re building community, we’re not just sort of sending out the same message through all channels. You know, sometimes when we look at something like Twitter, right, we jump on Twitter and we say, hey, you’d have like, these are a bunch of people with various different interests. We might be going on to Twitter to listen. I go out to Twitter, oftentimes, just to see what’s the sentiment, what, you know, what, what’s happening, what’s trending. What are people talking about, you know, whether it’s, I want to understand what’s happening in FinTech or I want to see what’s happening with my favorite sports teams. Or I want to see, you know, what’s happening in the political climate. I might check something like Twitter, I go out to Facebook and I’m, I’m looking at Facebook because I want to see, you know, sort of what’s happening with you know, family, my living room, right as we’ve talked about it, but but I want to understand kind of what that feels like. What are the what are people sharing for images? What are what’s, what’s happening there? That’s that listening area. So when I’m doing listening Well, when I go respond and make a tweet, I’m probably going to make something that fits in with the hashtag more. And I’m going to, I’m going to present some information that has more value on that channel than if I was posting something, regardless of the channel.

Becky Voss 23:23
So when we think about the different channels, and you think about the spamming tactic, cross posting the exact same message over and over across multiple channels really can cause some dissonance based on what the communication style is there. It’s almost as though you’re getting something that’s not relevant, or it just sounds a little dissonant to what you’re used to seeing on that channel, compared to maybe a more targeted piece.

Ben Pankonin 23:48
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think I think a lot of times, you know, we’ll see people that will say, Hey, you know, I’m just going to kind of post you know, everything out to every channel, the same and they’re different, you know, So when we see something like, like LinkedIn, we don’t have to post that often on LinkedIn to be effective as a selling tool. But what makes it effective a lot of times is if I’m sharing something out on behalf of a financial brand, and then I’m encouraging the other people that I work with to say, Hey, we’re posting this out, this is some great leadership content, would you mind sharing it? Right? Those are some great ways for us to reach out in and make those connections and help them to to be a part of sharing and distributing that content. So that if they feel good about that they will. So those can be really effective. And we’ll talk a little bit about advertising here later in our section. But But you know, really, what we’re doing is we’re helping make a connection to people that is both familiar and unique, right? It is that we’re making an individual connection. But, but we’re doing it in our own authentic voice. And I think that’s important to be able to cut through some noise to realize that You know, if we identify what makes us unique, it does help us cut through a lot of that noise and repeat messages. We want to demonstrate some value. So we want to show that, hey, what it is we’re talking about are promoting is critical. And then we of course want to be as authentic as possible. Again, we contrast building community, to spamming when we’re building community. We are authentic, it is what we care about, we get passionate about it, and we talk about the reason that we do what we do. So when we talk about lender profiles, and you know, there’s a lot of different ways to provide value. One of those is to simply be there and be a community advocate. You know, I got a text message a week ago from from my, my business banker that we work with, and he, you know, he texts me and just says, Hey, by the way, your your logos up here at the Chamber of Commerce, he was at a meeting that I was not at said, Hey, you know, they’re talking about what social insurance is doing the community, fantastic way for him to just as a commercial lender, say, Hey, I see that you’re present here. Now that happened to be a private conversation with him, you didn’t have to post it out publicly and say, Hey, Ben’s a bank customer or anything like that. So there wasn’t necessarily an amplification of his message from that, but he just wanted me to know that he’s paying attention to what we’re doing. And and he’s proud that that we’re client. So I think there’s a lot of ways to do that in a private message standpoint, that does provide some value. You know, if we show up in the newspaper, or we show up, you know, in a news site, he’s going to gather those things and and message those to me, sometimes they’re private communications. Sometimes they might be a little bit more public on Twitter or something. But, you know, showing that he cares and is involved with with customers, I think is really critical. Now there’s, there’s some fun ways and we’ve got a couple examples here. of How banks are doing this, you know, obviously that we see a number of different ways where they’re saying hey, you know, congrats Tim and Susan on your new home. Great to work with you those types of messages, I think are are great to show. Hey, here we are, this is an exciting time. We’ve seen a number of different ways to do that. The big key one, I think is kind of fun, you know, out in front of the house, working with some of the real estate agents to make that work if mortgages are a really an area of growth for you, I think that’s effective. This one on the right was was fantastic as well. You know, just talks about a few of the the key steps to making your home mortgage easy. They did a short video, which was kind of nice to just show, hey, here’s a here’s a few really key quick steps. And then, you know, using those individual resources to talk about, hey, there’s, you know, there’s maybe some, some ways we can help you understand And what your life stages like? Maybe there’s some ways that that we can help you understand what it’s like when you’re engaged and thinking about financial services or, you know, when you’re thinking about retirement, those are some great ways to repeat that message.

Becky Voss 28:15
And these are some great examples from lenders and from investment folks at our financial institutions. What would be your message to the bank marketers who are listening or to the bank leadership, who might be listening as well, who might be a little bit a little bit nervous about having their their lenders and their investment folks using social media to build that community and as a sales tool?

Ben Pankonin 28:40
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, all in all of these cases, we’re trying to tell that same story and emphasize that same story. So if we’re sharing out some information to lenders, I think it’s a great way for us to to create that place where they can go and gather content and be able to redistribute that. I think it’s really Important a lot of times to get our employees involved in that process, because they’re going to have relationships within the community. If we just do the math on the average number of connections that each of our employees likely has on social media, that becomes a huge amplification effect, just to get our employees bought into what we’re doing on social media gives us a lot of traction

Becky Voss 29:24
gets a lot of traction within your organization. And I’ve spoken with so many bank marketers who have taken on this entire social media burden, if you will, upon themselves and can easily become overwhelmed. And then when they realize that they can involve other members of their institution in that content gathering, whether it’s because they’re involved in some activity, or because they were able to capture a photo at a branch. It really can help ease that a little bit for them.

Ben Pankonin 29:54
Yeah, I totally agree. I think a lot of those can be really effective, you know, at the end of the day, When we’re looking at those tools and tactics, there’s really not an easy button to making community work. I think for those of you who are out in your community, working at community building, it takes time. It takes getting to know a lot of people, it takes introductions. We’ve talked about it in a number of different webinars, but one of the things that we always have to think about when we’re doing social media is that there is a person on the other end of the other social media accounts. So if that’s a Twitter account, that you’re trying to connect with, if you’re thinking about, you know, I’ve, I was just working with a bank marketer who said, Oh, you know, my friend runs the social media accounts for the car dealerships in our, in our communities. And so, you know, she was just gonna, you know, text over to her friend and say, Hey, we’re running this campaign. Can we kind of collaborate on how we’re building this community together? A lot of really good social media managers are doing that. They’re reaching out to the other country. connections they have that are also social media managers within the communities that they serve. And they’re reaching out and saying, Hey, we’re doing this, can we help amplify each other’s message? Can we help make those connections? That’s really community building. And it’s messy, it takes time. But when we can scale up that community, you know, it really gives us an advantage. So, so I think that first step is really, how do we win with those spaces and and we have to work to build that trust, even when it’s one to one. But you know, step two is thinking about how we do advertising in a way that’s not spamming. And so for some of you, you’ve said, Hey, this is advertising. Isn’t that spam? And I think we had a great offline conversation and said, it’s not always spam.

Becky Voss 31:50
It’s not alleys fam. I was sharing with Ben, that earlier this month, I was, you know, thinking summer is coming up, and I’m sure many of you can identify with me. It was time to go swimsuit shopping. And, you know, the first thing I did was take to the internet and where am I going to find the cutest suit this year. And so, as many of you know, swimsuit shopping is incredibly challenging. It’s just not that much fun. So I’m searching, I’m searching, I give up. Well, within hours, the next time I was online, I was on social media. All of a sudden, I’m getting ads for the most adorable swimsuits. And I was thrilled, I was so excited to see this super cute suit that I wound up buying. And it didn’t feel spammy at all, it was entirely relevant. And it it just made me really happy that someone else had done this search for me. And I was able to check that off my list and I was really, really pleased with the with the results. Unlike when you know, there’s something that’s completely irrelevant. And it just is noise, like we’re kind of all afraid of creating.

Ben Pankonin 32:55
Right, right. So when we think about what makes an ad work, right. And I’ve had some of those I was, you know, booking a lot of trips, you know, conferences and things like that my wife and actually are taking a trip to so that’s fun. But But you know, when we’re looking at those all of a sudden, I’m getting targeted by airlines and all of a sudden I’m like, hey, Southwest is having a sale. Honey, it’s $59 like, We’re going right, like, like, so, you know, I’m backtracking, she’s probably gonna have to go buy the swimsuit, but I’m buying the airplane ticket at our house. So so you know, same sort of thing where I’m thinking like, Hey, you know, there’s two things that really make ads work and I get excited about them as a consumer. One is that it’s relevant. So when an ad finds a way to be particularly relevant to me, I’m excited about that. The other part that I think we really have to be careful on is clarity. If, if they’re not specific about what they’re offering to me, and it feels like a little bit of a bait and switch, then I end up back in that spamming world. Right. So we need both of those to work in order for that to be an ad that I feel like is that I’m excited about. So I might not pull the trigger. And I think that’s important to note, right? Not Not every time that Southwest Airlines marketed an ad to me, did I booked a plane ticket, or I would be broken and would never be at home. But I would I also, you know, know that when they do send me an ad, I’m at least going to know that, okay, it could be $59. But I’m gonna check those destinations. I’m gonna know where it is.

Becky Voss 34:34
Well, and the week after I get that ad the next time I am looking to book a flight somewhere, that’s probably going to be the first place that comes to mind because they’ve stayed relevant. In my head. they’ve stayed in front of me, I haven’t seen ads for other airlines. Southwest in particular was doing a good job,

Ben Pankonin 34:49
right. So in particular, when we’re getting that ad, right when I get the ad for shoes on Zappos or Amazon, and I know this is the product I looked at. It’s specific If it’s relevant to something I just searched for, and it’s clear what they’re offering me, I think that’s really important. Some of the products that we’re marketing in financial brands are difficult to understand. And particularly when we’re doing campaigns, those can be really challenging to make sure it’s really ultra clear as to what we’re marketing.

Becky Voss 35:21
So one of the questions that came up before today’s webinar was how do we maintain these, these relevance and clarity and stay compliant at the same time, and I think there might be some misconceptions about our ability to target as financial institution marketers, so how can we use those really amazing targeting mechanisms that we have available to us without stepping over the line? Yeah,

Ben Pankonin 35:46
yeah. So obviously, we, we don’t want to be the creepy person, right? That that goes into a world that it’s really easy to fall into it, Facebook’s doing a couple things to try to pull us back from that one. In a little bit, but, you know, we have to think a little bit about which tools we want to use in which place, right? We do want to find something that’s particularly relevant. Was it something that someone expressed online through their interactions that they’re indicating that they might be interested? So one of the low hanging fruit that those of you who are doing paid ads are hopefully doing is what we would call pixel tracking on your website. So we’re, we’re loading in a pixel and then we’re retargeting based on where someone visited your website. This is, this is what you experienced when you were buying swim zoo. What I experienced when I looked up a flight on Southwest, is they said, Oh, Ben visited a page that included a Los Angeles. He might be interested in visiting Los Angeles, so let’s target him with a flight to Los Angeles at a cheaper rate. So they know that they don’t necessary Note was me unless I was logged in. But they know that I searched for that flight, you can do this on your website. So if I went to, if I went to your page about commercial lending, you could say, hey, one, I want to find people that are within a geography that I normally serve, whatever that is, and then I want to see, hey, you know, this person, or this group of people visited a page that was about commercial lending. They clearly expressed some interest by clicking on that. That’s usually a really good relevant ad that, you know, they might want to you might want to connect me with a commercial lender, you might want to connect me with a commercial account, you want to tell me about commercial accounts, right? So that would be a great instance where you would say, hey, I want to look at the demographic. And then I would look at what activity overlays with that so that gives me relevancy right away. With that one, and then you want to give me clarity, like you want to say, Okay. Are you interested in this? Would you like to take a look at this? Would you like to meet with this person? All of those things helped me cut through that the spam tactics. So another one that, you know, comes to mind a lot of times is helping increase followers, right, we just want to increase the amount of traffic on a site. We’ve seen some great results lately, by boosting and promoting posts, and then inviting those people to like your page afterwards. It’s a really nice way to say, hey, you engaged with some posts on our Facebook page. Can we just invite you to like us on Facebook, and it’s, it’s relatively soft introduction, hey, you were here, you engaged like this is relevant to you at this point. we advertise to reach you the first time but maybe you’d like to reach more of these messages. So that’s a really nice way to kind of reach back out And you can easily target, you know, towns, cities, zip codes, radiuses, geo fencing, all that sort of thing, especially in social media, it’s really easy.

Becky Voss 39:10
So, when we’re thinking about selling on social, we’re not always necessarily pushing a specific product. Sometimes we’re selling our own brand or selling our involvement in the community or brand awareness, driving people to our pages so that they can become familiar with us. We can build that trust, and then eventually, hopefully begin a stronger relationship with that person.

Ben Pankonin 39:31
Yeah, like you indicated earlier, a lot of times we want seven or eight touch points before they’re going to buy that product. Well, we don’t always want that we’d love to tap in one. But the reality is, that’s, that’s not the type of relationship we’re building with most of our customers. And, you know, I’ve been to a lot of these, you know, financial brands that that many of you are from and and that’s not the type of relationships we want. Typically with our customers. A lot of them are even generational relationships. So, those take a little bit further time to develop. So those spam tactic tactics really have difficulty because they’re just showing you Hey, click today, or it’s gone tomorrow, right? But when we can give them a little bit of an offer and say, Hey, we’re going to be here, there’s, uh, you know, again, when I go back to brands that are doing that, well on a big scale, you know, I travel a fair amount with Marriott. Marriott might say, hey, there’s a, there’s an event happening. I saw you were looking at a trip to Chicago, here’s that trip. You know, here’s an offer, but they know that I might not book that one. But hopefully I’ll book a Marriott somewhere later. That’s the type of relationship we want to build is that they might not take me on my first offer, but hopefully they’re going to remember it and carry that through to the next offer. So there’s a lot of ways we can do that with you know, we’ve got some new branch locations here. We’ve got you know, things like that. That really show that we’re active. We’re out there. You know, when we’re talking about new branch openings, or new opportunities to connect with us, we have some branch redesigns that have been great lately, to just see how people are interacting. I just saw Carrie was interacting with one of my tweets and they just had some flooding down in Texas and rebuilt their branch. that’s those are great posts to show, hey, we’re active, we’re open. This means a lot to us in our community that a bank would rebuild after a flood. Like those are important messages to get out and, and be interactive on. So when we look at, you know, event responses, you know, it helps really to reach that community around events. You know, our communities are built around specific events, nonprofits, activities like that, you know, so when we can help them manage those registrations, and we can target Get those individual areas we can drive traffic to sometimes our events sometimes. Other events, as we mentioned, sometimes it’s the Social Media Manager down the street that becomes really critical for us to be successful. I think we had a question come in a little bit earlier on boosted posts and sort of a balance there.

Becky Voss 42:21
Yeah, so that’s exactly what I was just gonna mention is what’s the balance between paid and organic content for better engagement and leads?

Ben Pankonin 42:31
Yeah, I think it’s really important to think about what that balance is, sometimes we’re doing it not on a consistent basis. So I think it’s really important to know sometimes we’re kicking in some boosted posts for a month to say hey, let’s let’s just sort of get to give this a shot in the arm get our social media engagements up. And then let’s, you know, let’s increase likes on our page. Let’s let’s get some more followers to our Twitter profile or our Instagram, and then we kind of back off a little bit. So we’ve seen that when you’re strategic about it, you’re kind of pushing out some, some likes, follows some, some posts, and then you’re pulling that back into organic traffic that helps carry that. So if I can fabricate a little bit of engagement with, with some paid social, that gets people to, to see my post more frequently, and start to like it and engage with it, then I can get some more organic traffic immediately following that. So I think if you’re not doing much with paid social, you should be dipping your toe, you just start throwing a $50 a month budget in just to to get some traffic in there. But then if you are starting to get a little bit of organic traffic, maybe that’s the time where you start to say, Okay, now let’s retarget the people who have been visiting our pages who have engaged with posts who do visit our website. Let’s start presenting them with offers That are clear and relevance as well. So I think, you know, all of those paid social strategies are great when they’re in moderation, we want to, we want to supplement that with organic traffic as well.

Becky Voss 44:14
So once we’ve done some of this, you know, paid advertising, if you will, what are some tips that you would give to how we respond to those leads that might come in? What are what are some things to keep in mind that you think are important?

Ben Pankonin 44:29
Yeah. So sometimes I think the leads are the easiest part. But the engagements are really hard sometimes. So sometimes we’ll get an engagement that comes back that’s like, Oh, hey, this is, this seems really cool. And we’re kind of like, what do we what do we do that is kind of ambiguous, right? What do we do with that? When they say, hey, I need an auto loan, where do I go? Then we sort of like like, all the sirens go off and we’re like, Hey, we need to do something with this. Like, this is awesome. So I think one of those is to just say When people start engaging with us, engage with them like a friend, like assume that their friend, and then we start to we start to change the way we interact with them, we start to say, Hey, I, I’m glad to help you get to the right person, can I get you to the right person to connect to you? Can I can I redirect you to somebody who can help you better? Yeah, I’m handling the social media sometimes responding back with that personal connection or relationship. We were talking to, to a marketing manager the other day who was saying, Well, you know, do we give cell phone numbers that we not like? There’s sort of like this weird thing around that. Well, if it was your friend, you wouldn’t think it was weird. So if we can connect them directly, with a phone number, a direct place to go? That’s what you would do as a friend. You want to shortcut that relationship, when they decide that they want to do something and they need help get them to the right person. So I think you shortcut that as much as We can get them to the right person and, and help them get the solution they want.

Becky Voss 46:04
It’s really interesting. During that same conversation, one of the things that came up was one of the marketers left their name in the response and said, You know, this is the answer to your question and kind of left their name. And the person on the other end, almost couldn’t believe that that was really the person’s name. And it’s that that friendship kind of communication is, is refreshing. Some people don’t believe that their financial institution would become so friendly with them to to share their own name behind the bank’s profile, if you will.

Ben Pankonin 46:38
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s completely true. And that’s what we do when we’re friends, right? We shock people if we say, Hey, no, like, like, I’ll just meet you. They’re like, well, we’re just gonna make this happen, right? And so I think when we when we have that attitude of just, hey, we’re a friend, we’re just gonna make it happen. It changes the way you interact with people, and we start to get much better results. around those. So I think that those are a lot of fun. And, you know, I, Emily was just messaging me on Twitter and said that she just ordered some Buffalo Wild Wings because of an awesome ad online. And I have to agree. Sometimes I just get, I just get excited for some wings. So it doesn’t take me much to get excited for some for some, for some bw, three, so awesome. So we’re going to touch a little bit on some new tactics. And I want to use these as a way to to cut through that noise of spamming, right. So one of those is going live on social media. So for us to go live on social media and say, Hey, we’re going to start using things like Facebook Live or Instagram Live, we’re going to start streaming that cuts through some of that noise. You can’t, you can’t repeat that message. You can’t broadcast that out on many channels at the same time. So those types of messages are really effective when we’re doing videos. In the right ways we can we can really help people to see that we’re authentic. And I think that’s a that’s the important part of the live videos or the, what I would also say is relatively unedited videos. You know, when we shoot that quick video that says, hey, we’re just here. We’re doing this event. You know, we can make a call to action really quick. I was just helping a nonprofit. And I said, Hey, that I just grabbed the person’s phone and said, well, let’s just shoot that right now. And we just shot a video right there. They were raising some money and wanted to get drive some traffic. And so we said, well, yep, they’re doing it. They were doing it for towel day. So it’s like, hey, let’s get some towels donated for the local people City Mission. So it’s just a great way to just, hey, let’s let’s just go live. Let people know what we’re doing. This can be really effective. So you know, getting started with advertising. You know, we can pre plan some advertisements. That’s something we can we can do a few days in it. Vance and then you know, try different times. And also, you know, make sure that we we feel comfortable going through that compliance process. If we’ve got any questions there.

Becky Voss 49:11
What examples would you give for someone who is concerned about the compliance element of going live? It’s not something that you can necessarily predict what’s going to happen if you’ve got some other people involved. What are some kind of safe ways to dip your toe in the water?

Ben Pankonin 49:26
Yeah, you know, there’s a lot of safe ways with short videos. I think, you know, we still underutilized video. It doesn’t have to be you don’t have to call your advertising firm and do a 92nd video with a backdrop and all of those sorts of things to be effective. And using video. We can just shoot a really short clip. You know, if you’ve got a newer iPhone or Android, it shoots great video. So be very conscious of your lighting. So make sure you’re wherever your shooting is. Better lit than you think it needs to be, you know, see if you can get a logo in the background and just ask for somebody for a quick sentence. And that’s something you can shoot really pretty easily.

Becky Voss 50:11
So each of these bank marketers might have somewhere like that in one of their lobbies that they could find something with a logo, maybe find a customer or a member who’s who’s very familiar to them who’s been with them a long time and that they know is happy.

Ben Pankonin 50:25
Yeah. If at all possible, try to find some natural light coming in from behind you a little bit at an angle. And yeah, you’ve got a good video. You can you can pull that off pretty quickly. You know, you can do some some fun things, you know, obviously we we we like to talk about kids, pets, coffee, things like that are really fun. We’ve got some some more recent videos coming out in the next couple weeks that are just great. So those are fun to do, but sometimes they take some time to put together you know, we’re we’re at an advantage that we have a full content team. That does put that sort of thing together. So I realize you, you may not have that. But you, you do have somebody who can probably tell your story pretty quickly.

Becky Voss 51:09
And if you’re not going live, if you do just a short video and you decide to upload it, those things can be edited just as easily as shooting them on your iPhone or Android device. And so often having something that’s not quite as formal as having your agency partner helping you with that video can help other people feel more familiar familiarized with you and your brand.

Ben Pankonin 51:31
Exactly, exactly. So you can be you can be pretty efficient at pulling off some of those. The other thing that we want to do when we’re doing community building is show photos and videos from out in the community. So whenever possible, gathering this photos and videos, right from where they happen are important. You know, here were a couple little ways that we’re doing contests. I was just laughing with our content team because there’s always this sort of like nature of You know, how do you do content and how do you do contests, but you know, contests where you have to enter, you know, whether it’s a little photo contests, or some things like that. Those are elements that you really want to make sure you focus on your clarity. So if you’ve got disclosures that need to be in place, if it is a contest or a sweepstakes, I will cover some of those. We have some webinars that cover the difference between a contest and the sweepstakes and what types of regulations you need to be concerned with. But we do want to make sure we’re not running a lottery. So no Open Office pools out on online. You know, we want to make sure we’re conscious of all of those. But there’s some really great ways particularly this time of year where we’re working on a lot of lending opportunities if you’re doing mortgages, and home renovations. This is a really cool one we did with renovations. So you’re giving away you know some gift cards to your local big box. remodels store. Those are some great ways to do that. We’ve got some here around holidays. Those are always fun. We’re seeing some come in that we’re starting to pre plan for the summer for a little vacation trips. Those are a lot of fun that pull a little something together. And I always love the ones where we say, Hey, can you grab a little photo about where you wet? Right? So if we’re looking at that vacation photo, you know, it’s really fun to be able to say, hey, our, our financial brand is helping you to experience life in a different way. So I think there’s a lot of fun branding opportunities we can do. But those are all trying to tailor with your brand message to make sure you’re building that community. So after you run those contests, you following up with those participants and making sure Hey, could you know Could they be a bank customer? Could they engage with us? Could they you know, have other follow ups for us do they want to even share something I had one of those I one Beatles tickets a year ago online for the local radio station. And so I said, Well, sure, you know, I’ll post a photo of, you know, McCartney. Now, as it turns out, it was the top row. So I didn’t get to get my photo with him. But like, at least, you know, you know, it was tickets to see Paul McCartney when he was in town. So I mean, it was kind of cool to be able to at least say, Hey, you know, we’re partners with this. You gave me free tickets, we’ll help you promote that. So I think those are a lot of fun. So when we think about really, how do we cut across this spamming messages that we know a lot of brands are trying to do, and they’re they’re playing this line of how much Spam is too much spam? And I would say, how do we make sure we’re not spam? Like how do we win without being spam? And really, when when, when people see us as, as trust builders First of all, and when they see that our advertising is both clear and relevant, and then when we’re using new tactics, to make sure that we’re cutting across that noise, tactics that can’t always be automated. those are those are really three of the ways that we can be effective.

Becky Voss 55:19
And if you think about where we stand as financial institutions in our community, trust is paramount. We, if we can’t be trustworthy, then we don’t have any business in our communities and to be there for folks to help them with their financial needs. So trust is really the only option.

Ben Pankonin 55:38
Yeah, you’re right. You know, we want a long term relationship. We want something that helps build the communities we’re involved in. And I think that’s what I’m really excited about talking about. How do we become better community builders? from a marketing standpoint? I think that’s the that’s the real question. You know, a lot of times we call ourselves Community financial institutions and things like that. And we, we are that. But how do we do that in a marketing standpoint and really differentiate ourselves and there’s a lot of ways to do that. So we have another webinar tomorrow, actually. So back to back days, tomorrow, we’re going to be talking about our community, our CRA solution. So we have a software solution. I’d love to talk with you about if you haven’t registered and would love to see a demo of that trs t i n slash CRA, is the registration link for that. So feel free to jump in. We’d love to have you tomorrow if you have questions. But also we’d love to understand if you have other questions about how to build community in your marketing. Your next month is Financial Literacy Month. So we’re going to be talking more about financial literacy. We’re gonna be talking about how to not just throw away what we’re doing with financial literacy, but tomorrow What we’re doing with financial literacy. So I think there’s a lot of missed opportunities. As we talk to both the partners who are providing financial literacy, education, curriculum, software, all of those things. We’re spending a lot of money with them. But there’s some great ways we can take advantage of what we’re doing there, we have a story to tell. And we want to, we want to help you to recoup some of your investment that you’re making in financial literacy. So I’m excited about that conversation. If you have some great examples of ways that you are doing financial literacy. I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to shoot me an email Bennett social insurance, calm, tweet us. It’s always fun to have your tweets and tell what your stories are, and how you’re, you’re building your communities. But thanks for being with us today. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you tomorrow. And if not, we will see you in April for another webinar about financial literacy. Thanks